Error analysis


What is error analysis?

Error analysis checking is a way that tutors, family, colleagues or friends (your 'checkers') can help you with the areas that you find difficult.


The person marking or checking your work could correct every mistake you make.  But you won't learn much that way and your work is likely to be covered with red ink!


Don't try to do everything in one go!

You can decide, with your checker, what aspects of your work you want to improve to make the biggest difference.  Don't try too many things at once because it won't work!  Things you might consider are:

·      spelling

·      grammar/sentence structure

·      punctuation

·      planning and structuring essays


Work on one thing at a time.


Many people are concerned about their spelling, but, if your spelling is recognisable, you might find it better to concentrate on something else. Choose what you feel would be best for you because your motivation will help you.


How do you want your errors highlighted?

The next thing to decide is how you would like your errors to be indicated.  Avoid red pen as it will remind you of school!


At first you might ask your checker to underline the error.  When you feel you are gaining confidence, ask them to put a mark in the margin on the line the error occurs.  You will then have to proof-read for that error. You have the advantage of knowing that there is an error there but you have to find it.

·      Looking for it will help you to see the mistake (using a visual strategy).

·      Reading out loud to yourself will help you hear the mistake (using an audio strategy).

·      Looking for the error yourself is a doing strategy.


So you are using a multi-sensory approach.

Your particular errors

Keep a note of your errors; you may see a pattern emerging. Do you, for example, always forget a full stop at the end of a sentence?  This would be a good time to develop a strategy to help you to remember to add that full stop.


The benefits of error analysis 

It will:

·      help you to find your own mistakes rather than have them pointed out to you directly

·      help you to feel confident about finding your own errors independently

·      help you to identify areas that you can develop using your own learning strategies


Some examples of helpful error analysis


Example 1

          The tranquility and beauty of this huge park is rivaled only by its variety of animal life - a kalidoscope of diving sealions, talking mynahs, chortling chimpanzies and stately king penguins.

Here the checker has underlined the misspelled words but not corrected them.  It is up to you to correct them.  The correct spellings are: tranquillity, rivalled, kaleidoscope, chimpanzees.   But note that the spelling errors are not serious and do not make the text unreadable.


Example 2.




The exhibition in june was intended to raise awareness about personal safety. What was the most important question that we should ask ourselves about our safety.

Here the checker has indicated punctuation errors by marking a P in the margin, on the line where the error occurs.


The correct punctuation is:

The exhibition in June was intended to raise awareness about personal safety. What was the most important question that we should ask ourselves about our safety?


You are now in a position to proof read your own work. There is a checklist to help you.

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